From S/4HANA to C/4HANA: SAP proclaims an end-to-end business software strategy

With SAP C/4HANA, SAP strongly emphasizes the relevance of its customer experience portfolio. Basically, the vendor positions S/4 and C/4 as product suites that are covering end-to-end business processes – from the customer-centric front-end to the back-end.

C/4 HANA is not brandnew, however. It rather bundles several assets from SAP’s portfolio within a cloud-consistent platform, with dedicated “clouds” for sales, commerce, services and consumer data. The new suite comprises solutions from Hybris, recently accuired companies Callidus Cloud (CPQ suite) and Gigya (cloud platform for customer data) as well as SAP’s own SaaS CRM applications.

Right at the beginning of the Sapphire NOW conference, SAP announced another acquisition, which is rounding off the picture: Swiss-based Coresystems, a provider of field service management solutions. We think that, to a large extent, SAP was forced to make such moves in the customer experience area to be able to better compete against Salesforce and Microsoft, its two main rivals in the sector. At the same time, SAP wants to send a much clearer message to its customers about its portfolio, which covers both back-end and front-end processes.

The second major announcement related to the SAP HANA Data Management Suite. Despite being data management agnostic in the past, SAP is now becoming more proactive in this area, by bringing together its in-memory platform SAP HANA with its Data Hub. The new offering can help customers to detach data management from various applications and data silos as well as data from cloud-based sources. Among other things, the SAP HANA Data Management Suite is comprised of SAP HANA, SAP Data Hub and SAP Cloud Platform Big Data Services.

Again, these building blocks such as the Data Hub are not all new. What is SAP’s ambitions in the data management segment? After pushing its cloud application platform (SAP Cloud Platform), SAP has now begun to promote its capabilities in data management for hybrid cloud environments. As more and more companies deploy cloud applications and integrate them with existing on-premises back-ends, there is rising demand for such features.

Overall, we believe the main message from the opening keynote to be consistency, a re-organized portfolio of assets and how they can interact.